Experts working to catalog the more than 1,500-piece collection of ceremonial paintings
ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 24, 2007) -- Ohio University alumnus Fred Harris has donated a collection of ethnic Vietnamese religious art to Ohio University Libraries. Harris, an artist who has lived in Japan for more than 45 years, and his business partner, Robert Fallon, donated the collection in fall 2006. When it's ready for viewing in fall 2007, you won't want to miss it.
"If you want to know about this culture, this is the best collection to look at because of the large number of pieces," said Nguyen Minh Thanh, the collection's curator, a well-known Vietnamese painter who has exhibited his work in Vietnam, Germany and Australia.
The acquisition includes scroll-like paintings, masks and costumes used in religious ceremonies of ethic tribes in the mountains of northern Vietnam who practice a form of Taoism. It features at least 500 masks and 1,000 paintings, some more than 200 years old. Priests hang the paintings -- which include depictions of Buddhas, soldiers and emperors -- during religious ceremonies. The masks and costumes (large embroidered or painted vests) also are used in the ceremonies.
Minh Thanh began unloading the collection in December 2006. He preserved the paintings -- which are made on delicate hand-crafted paper -- by placing them in acid-free papers and folders. Next, experts will begin cataloging the works and readying them for viewing. Zimmerman expects the libraries to mount an exhibit in Alden Library in fall 2007.
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